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The benefits of vitamin E are now fairly well

established. Out of a controversial past it has

become clear that vitamin E plays important

roles as an antioxidant, in your immune

system, in preventing heart disease and even

in helping prevent cancer. As if this wasn?t

enough, the research continues into other

beneficial effects that vitamin E may have.

It?s not particularly easy to come by however

meaning if you want to get all the benefits you

probably should consider a supplement to

your diet.

Vitamin E has many uses. Vitamin E plays an

important role as an antioxidant. This means that it

is important in preventing the damaging effects of

free radicals which are by-products of many

normal body processes. Vitamin E can works

alongside the other important antioxidants, vitamin

C and beta-carotene.

It is only relatively recently that the benefits of

vitamin E in preventing heart disease have been

well proven despite it being suspected since the

1940s. Studies have shown that taking regular

vitamin E, either through diet or supplements can

have quite dramatic effects to lower your risk of

heart disease. In addition to it?s preventative

effects, there have been other studies which have

indicated that vitamin E can help stop the

progression of heart disease which has already

been established. Another way in which it acts is

to help prevent severe blood clots which can in

some cases be highly dangerous. So all around

vitamin E can offer some great benefits against

heart disease.

It has been known for some time that vitamin E

can boost the immune system. The antioxidant

effects of vitamin E help the immune reaction, but

in addition vitamin E works to protect cell

membranes against being penetrated by attacking


The idea that vitamin E might help prevent cancer

came from observations that people with cancer

often have low levels of vitamin E. So the question

that needs answering is – does one cause the

other? Do low levels of vitamin E make people

more likely to develop cancer, or does having

cancer cause your levels of vitamin E to drop?

There is growing evidence that low levels of

vitamin E do make you more likely to develop

cancer. This is good news because we can do

something about low levels of vitamin E ? get

more, and reduce our cancer risk. The antioxidant

effects of vitamin E seem to be what is giving this

protection. So far there is evidence of this effect in

acting against colon, cervical and breast cancers

and possibly lung cancer. Another benefit can

come in patients who are receiving radiation

therapy for cancer in whom vitamin E appears to

help reduce the side effects of treatment.

For normal nerve function vitamin E is essential.

Long term deficiency of vitamin E can show itself

in terms of damage to the nerves.

The effects of vitamin E deficiency are not as

dramatic as the effects of not getting enough of

many of the other vitamins. A long-term deficiency

E may lead to nerve damage and even

neurological disorders. These kinds of deficiencies

are pretty rare and can be difficult to identify.

Many of these disorders may be treated by

vitamin E supplementation. People may get

deficiencies who have disorders which lead to

them not being able to absorb much vitamin E,

such as those with Crohn?s disease, liver disease

or cystic fibrosis. However, also people who are

on very low fat or low calorie diets for long

periods of time should make sure they are getting

enough vitamin E.

As with many other vitamins, the Recommended

Daily Allowance (RDA) is the minimum amount

necessary to avoid becoming deficient. For adults

this is about 12-15 IUs (International Units). It is

really more useful to take a look at how much is

generally considered to be good for you, so you

make sure and get all the positive effects of vitamin

E. Taking too much, like any other vitamin, can be

dangerous. These levels are as follows:

Adults ? From age 10 and up, 30 to 400 IU

(International Units)

The amount will vary depending upon your size

and diet.

Children ? Less than ten years old ? no more than

200 IU per day

Infants ? no more than 50 IU per day

Vitamin E is pretty hard to come by in most foods.

There just isn?t much of it around. A normal

healthy diet will give you about 15 IUs per day.

This comes from foods such as vegetable oils,

whole-grains, eggs, flour and vegetables.

In order to get the full benefits that vitamin E can

offer, you are going to have to consider a

supplement. As with most vitamins, there are an

enormous variety of options. Most multivitamins

will cover your vitamin E needs quite nicely, but

there are also many products that will offer vitamin

E by itself in its different forms.

The different forms of vitamin E

Getting enough vitamin E offers some excellent

health benefits, such as; acting as an antioxidant to

prevent the damaging effects of free radicals,

reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer,

and boosting your immune system. Vitamin E is a

very important vitamin and can greatly increase

one?s health when taken in right dosages.

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